Play back devices such as the hand wind "Messenger" cassette player and Saber MP3 player have enabled thousands to hear and understand the message of the Scriptures. Many have come to faith in Christ. Others have been taught and strengthened in their faith. Many evangelists and pastors have been equipped and resourced to do their work even better.
Here are a few stories from the region.
The partnership in Zambia is quite new but is already bearing fruit. James and Jess, new workers in Western Zambia are very excited about the impact of the GRN materials and have recently purchased nearly $2000 worth for the area. They tell this story...
Mwangala is an amazing young lady from the Sioma Community in western Zambia. She gave her life to the Lord about five years ago after waiting in a prayer line when she was sick. She had a great encounter with a caring prayer helper and committed her life completely to the Lord. She loves kids and later became the children's church leader. When her pastor died last year, she was found to be the most committed Christian and most capable person to lead this young church.
In the past three years, Mwangala has received death threats from witchdoctors. Despite experiencing some fear at their threats, she felt that if serving the Lord meant dying, it would be better to 'die in the Lord than outside (of His love)'. She has a shop at the market and each month she devotes some of her earnings to purchasing poles for the church building. Her rural church invested about R70 ($10) in purchasing their Saber MP3 player, which was subsidised by a caring church from South Africa. They are excited about it. They believe it will help greatly. Many of the people they reach out to are not able to read the Bible for themselves.
Mozambique is considered to have the lowest literacy in Southern Africa. The need for audio and audiovisual gospel materials is immense.
Missionaries there are using the GRN materials and training local evangelists to use them in the most effective way. The local evangelists are in turn going out to very remote communities using and training others to use these materials which are so appropriate to the local situation.
One of the leaders of the work there writes, "We have had the joy of seeing the huge potential of the GRN materials and the fruit that they produce. We look forward to building on our relationship with Good News Media (GRN South Africa) so that we can do more for the people of Mozambique, and enable more people here to have greater access to God's Word. The GRN materials have helped many people to find Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and grow in God's Word".
The Saber MP3 player is having a huge impact too. "Bush" churches and remote communities are particularly helped and delighted when they are able to obtain one. More translation and recording is being planned and carried out in Mozambique.
In Malawi, Good News Media (GNM) partners with a group called Fishers, Trainers and Senders (FTS). Roughly 1,054 people in Malawi have been reached through the Saber MP3 players placed in 5 locations chosen by FTS. But as feedback is limited in some areas, many more people may have heard the messages.
The Nkhoma Synod provided one Saber player to the northern part of Mozambique, where 947 people have the opportunity to listen to the lessons. FTS also acquired Saber players for their children's ministry and follow-up programmes.
FTS have plans to increase the usage of Saber players in churches, schools and children's groups.
They also want to deliver 100 Saber players to remote communities in Malawi. They will also incorporate the players and other GNM/ GRN materials in the training and equipping of FTS students.
Good News Media
Good News Media is a partnership of GRN and Bible Media in South Africa. Dalene Joubert has led the work there for the last ten years.
In addition to language research, recording and 'running the operation', Dalene has developed partnerships with missions and missionaries in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe - all of whom have a heart to reach the oral learners and minority language groups of the region with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Recordings have been made in 96 languages and dialects spoken in these countries. There may be several hundred more!